Study: Sponsorship, Events Influence Millennials When Purchasing New Vehicles


Nearly 12 percent of all new vehicle purchases in 2015 were influenced by special events and sponsorships by automakers, up 7 percent when compared year over year, says a new study released today by Rochester Hills-based Foresight Research.

“Young buyers are actively participating in, and influenced by almost all traditional and experiential marketing channels at much higher rates than older buyers,” says Nancy Walter, vice president of business development for Foresight. 

Walter says events and sponsorship influenced one in four purchases made by millennials, compared to one in 20 baby boomers. The study also finds that event attendance has increased for buyers of all vehicle segments, yet varies considerably by brand. For example, buyers of premium brands, such as BMW, Audi, and Cadillac, are most likely to attend an event and be influenced by it.

“New car buyers had been on an aging trajectory for the past five years and that had a profound effect on which channels influenced new auto purchases,” Walter says. “The tide is starting to turn toward the huge millennial market as they increase, and boomers decline, in the new car buyer mix. As that continues, experiential marketing channels like events and sponsorships may be even more influential.” 

Walter says events and sponsorships attract first-time buyers and minorities at high rates. She says buyers engaged with events are also much more likely to be influenced by multiple channels. While the average car buyer is influenced by fewer than five channels throughout the purchase process, those who watched or attended an event were influenced by nearly double that amount.

To download the 2015 Promotions Immersion Report, visit